Why is finding attractive bathing suits for older women so difficult? After all, women over 60 are a huge market. You’d think that bathing suit producers would be lining up around the corner to sell to us. Unfortunately, this isn’t yet the case.
The good news is that there are still places to find bathing suites for women our age. We just need to look a little harder.
Where Are All the Bathing Suits for Older Women?
Women in their 60s might remember a song by Brian Hyland that expressed a challenge that we still face today. “Itsy, bitsy, teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini,” captured the terror that many women feel when they think about wearing a bathing suit in public.
It was funny at the time, but, as we get a little older, many of us become especially sensitive to our body image. We still love going to the spa and enjoy visiting the beach with our friends and family, but, many of us feel nervous about showing our bodies in public.
Of course, much of the problem is in our own heads. We are much harder on ourselves than the rest of the world is. At the same time, women my age face a practical problem as well – finding flattering bathing suits for older women is much harder than it should be.
So, how does a woman over 60 find a comfortable and fashionable bathing suit that will cover up a little unwanted weight? Where can she find a style that creates a flattering look? Fortunately, in recent years, designers have started to think about how to create swimwear that meets our needs. They still haven’t taken the step of showing older women in their advertising, but, that’s another story.
So, if you’re looking to hit the beach this summer, here are a few places to look for flattering bathing suits for older women. If you have any other suggestions, please add them in the comments.
Find the Perfect Bathing Suit for Your Unique Shape and Size
There are several great places to go for inspiration. Swimsuits for All is a great online site offering a “Fit and Flatter Guide.” You enter your measurements and choose from bathing suits that can enhance a small bust or support a large one. It also offers designs that hide hips or slim your tummy. With one-piece, skirt bottoms and swim shorts, this site offers a lot of choices.
Don’t Be Afraid to Embrace the Quirky and the Unconventional
There are opportunities for women over 60 to be a little non-traditional with their choice of flattering bathing suits. You can wear running shorts or tank tops with built in bras, or swimming shorts with a halter top or t-shirt. There are no rules that say that you have to wear matching tops and bottoms. For example, you might try a solid bottom and floral top.
You can also find many wonderful cover ups and sarongs to leave on if you are not planning to swim. You can remove cover-ups when you are settled on your towel and have made your entrance comfortably.
Zappos have a wide selection of cover ups.
Vince Camuto Seychelles Midi Caftan Cover-Up
Shop for a Size that Flatters Your Body
Whichever style of bathing suit you select, it’s a good rule of thumb to go for a bottom that’s one size bigger than you wear with your regular clothing. Having a little extra material will reduce curves and divert the eye from your own perceived problem areas. If your chest is a lot smaller than your bottom half, it’s best to select a top with a bit of substance.
Look Beyond the Bikini – Skirtinis, Shortinis, Tankinis and Swimdresses
You are not stuck with the choice of a bikini or one piece anymore. There are some fabulous choices for older women. The tankini is a bathing suit that combines a tank top and a bikini bottom. It’s like a one piece but with the convenience of a two piece. If you want a little larger bottom, there is the Shortini which is a Tankini top and shorts on the bottom.
I personally love swim dresses. They’re like a traditional one-piece bathing suit combined with a short mini skirt. It’s great for hiding tummies, thighs and hips.
Focus on the Parts of Your Body that You Love. Don’t Over Analyze Perceived Flaws!
The most important advice that I can give you when choosing a bathing suit is not to focus on your perceived flaws. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, you are way harder on yourself than the rest of the world. Like any other aspect of beauty for women over 60, choosing a bathing suit should be fun. It should be about looking and feeling your best, for your own sake, not anybody else’s.
Almost everyone is anxious about their body, no matter how young they are. So, have a bit of fun with it. Embrace your curves, accept your beautiful older body and enjoy your friends and the sun (remembering your sunscreen of course!) Have a great summer everyone!
A Rant on Fashion Models
Many of you have commented about not being represented by the models in the photos. I hear you! There is, unfortunately, ageism that exists in the fashion industry. We have seen the industry slowly shift to more realistic and less photoshopped bodies in the past years.
But we are still hugely misrepresented – they use young models even when they are trying to sell to women our age. For example, see what turns up when I search “Swimsuits for women over 60” on Amazon. Not a single woman over 60 in the photos.
In the meantime, I suggest you write to your favorite designers and retailers and express your need to see older models with real bodies. Hopefully, the retailers and advertisers will take into account that we are a huge demographic for their products and that they will begin to use models that represent us and our bodies.
Do you feel nervous wearing a bathing suit in public? Or are you completely comfortable in your skin? Where do you think are the best places to shop for flattering bathing suits for older women? Please leave your comments below.